Indian video-sharing apps surge in popularity on TikTok ban

Roposo, an Indian video-sharing social media app similar to TikTok that been around since 2014, saw its user base jump by 22 million in the two days. (AFP)
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Updated 03 July 2020

Indian video-sharing apps surge in popularity on TikTok ban

  • Ban follows a confrontation between India and China at a disputed Himalayan border site
  • With 200 million Indians users, TikTok a burgeoning force in the nation’s social media scene

NEW DELHI: Indian tech and entertainment firms are looking to capitalize on sudden opportunities arising from a government ban on Chinese owned apps, including the wildly popular TikTok, with one rival video app saying it had added 22 million users in 48 hours. India this week outlawed 59 Chinese-owned apps including TikTok and Tencent’s WeChat, in what was described as a “digital strike” against China by the country’s technology minister.
The move followed a confrontation between India and China at a disputed Himalayan border site, which left 20 Indian soldiers dead.
With 200 million Indians users, TikTok, which features a simple user interface, background music options and various special effects, was a burgeoning force in the nation’s social media scene and the ban left its fans scrambling for options.
Roposo, an Indian video-sharing social media app similar to TikTok that been around since 2014, saw its user base jump by 22 million in the two days after India banned the Chinese apps, the company’s founder Mayank Bhangadia told Reuters.
“In the last few days I’ve slept for a total of five hours, and it’s the same for our entire team,” Bhangadia said. “The load is so much and we’re just ensuring that the experience is as smooth as possible.”
Roposo’s downloads on Google’s Android now total over 80 million, and Bhangadia expects that to reach 100 million in just a few days. Before the ban, Roposo had roughly 50 million installs on Android devices, which account for a bulk of India’s nearly 500 million smartphones.
Based in the southern Indian tech hub of Bengaluru, the company has just 200 staff now but is planning to hire as many as 10,000 people over the next two years and may take the app global, Bhangadia said.
Other home-grown TikTok alternatives such as Chingari and Mitron are also finding favor with users, with many taking to social media to echo Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for “atma-nirbhar” or self-reliant India.
MyGov, the federal government’s citizen engagement website, last month created its account on Roposo.
“We have to create our own ecosystem, every country has done this, this is our atma-nirbhar program,” said a government minister.
New players are also jumping into the fray. Mumbai-based Zee Entertainment Enterprises is set to launch an ad-supported, short-video platform, named HiPi, in the next two months, Rajneel Kumar, the product head for its digital unit Zee5 said.
He hoped that former TikTok users would “find a home within Hipi to be able to continue to enjoy the content they enjoyed.”


Dubai-based boutique agency Means Design launches PR arm

Updated 24 September 2020

Dubai-based boutique agency Means Design launches PR arm

  • Move comes as the agency signs hospitality clients the Meydan Hotel and Bab Al-Shams Desert Resort & Spa on a PR retainer
  • Means Design Managing Director Lama Accary Bibi: Creativity should be the essence of any marketing and communications company

DUBAI: Means Design, an independent Dubai-based boutique full-service marketing and communications agency, has officially launched its PR arm. The move comes as the agency signs hospitality clients, the Meydan Hotel and Bab Al-Shams Desert Resort & Spa on a PR retainer, in addition to their existing creative and social media agreement.
Launched in 2012, Means Design was founded as an offshoot of its sister company Means Marketing, a traditional marketing agency founded in 1984, with a strategic focus on bringing creatively led solutions to clientele. 
Servicing clients across hospitality, lifestyle, beauty, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and dining sectors, Means Design’s roster includes Raffles Dubai, Rotana Hotels and Resorts, the soon-to-be-launched Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk, luxury beauty and skincare brand Mollagara, red-carpet designer Rami Al-Ali, food-and-beverage titans Americana Group (TGI Fridays across the region, Red Lobster and Olive Garden), Aprons & Hammers and Café Society.
“This move is a natural one as we’ve always streamlined our communication across all verticals,” said Means Design Managing Director Lama Accary Bibi.
“What sets us apart is that we were founded as a creative agency. Creativity should be the essence of any marketing and communications company. Hence, we believe in telling impactful stories founded on creativity and strategic thinking. Innovation has always been key and today, companies need to step up their game in order to weather the current situation,” she added. 
“Our PR team has what it takes to understand what makes the media and the market pulse, and with the signing of the Meydan Hotel and Bab Al-Shams across all services, we’re thrilled to see what this launch brings for the team at Means Design.”